Thursday, November 7, 2013

Internship Misery from Conan the Grammarian.

My school has its own Hamster Resource department dealing with things such as Hamster Care, Hamster Retirement, and Hamster Resource Policy on campus. They offer internships to the university's Hamster Resource Management majors, of which I was lucky enough to receive one. I've been shadowing HR people for the past few weeks and recently my boss told me "Conan, it's time for you to learn the worst part of Hamster Resources: Dealing with people who are angry with each other and, consequently, angry with you."

She silently ushered me into a conference room where two faculty members were waiting, sitting as far apart from each other as possible. A stenographer was already there. My boss sat down and introduced me as her intern. I was met with a polite enough response.

Now the faculty members were a man and a woman. The woman's hair protruded at least three quarters of a foot above her head and 80 percent of her visible body was scarf. The man was dressed in a suit jacket, shirt, tie, and suit pants but everything was a different color as though he'd assembled the outfit at a rummage sale. The meeting began:

My Boss: Now, Dr. Male, you have filed a hostile work environment complaint against Dr. Female and both of you favored an HR hearing to a union hearing. Is this correct? Okay. We take these issues very seriously. Dr. Male, what are you perceiving on the part of Dr. Female that makes you uncomfortable.

Now all hell breaks loose.

Dr. Male: She's eating my lunches!

Dr. Female: That is slanderous!

*I inch away from the table*

My Boss: Now, if you'll calmly tell me why you think she is eating your lunches...

Dr. Male: We're the only two vegetarians in our department! Who else would it be?!

Before my boss can even begin to fathom a way of saying "That is horrible logic" politely...

Dr. Female: He's just trying to take me down because he knows he's not half the educator I am and that he shouldn't even be at our university.

My boss is speechless. In the space of five minutes both professors start crying, they apologize to each other, hug, and accuse us (as though I did anything) of trying to tear them apart.

This is like... something out of Alice in Wonderland ffs. Have any of you experienced such insane division over something so trivial?


  1. Replies
    1. Except for the relatively happy ending.

    2. The more trivial it is, the louder the shouting. But I've experienced *very few* happy ends.

  2. Yes, dealing with angry people is unpleasant, especially crazy, angry, vegetarian people who dress in unconventional ways.

    I can't say that I've ever gotten HR involved in a problem like this. Typically, we duel and let chemical waste management deal with the leftovers.

  3. You do internships to see what the job is really like. No textbook can do that scenario justice.

  4. That's about as petty as it gets. We don't get too much petty bickering in my dept. now, but I have worked elsewhere where colleagues fought over

    We recently went through a hostile work environment claim. We were not allowed to participate in the meetings with the mediator, nor were any outside parties privy to the information of the case. I wish we had been allowed to participate!

  5. Solution:

    Nagant pistol duel in the Quad on Sunday. Bribe the campus fuzz to stay away for 30 minutes.

    Woundings should be considered wins.

    1. Cheats like that are disqualified. They get six chances to put holes in the opponents, no seconds, and the winner drives the wounded or dying loser to the hospital.

    2. It's sabres for me. There are a few colleagues I'd like go all Arthur-vs-the-Black- Knight on.

    3. You Nagant freaks! Do you know how hard is to come by real Nagant ammo? (And it's normally corroded in those spam cans). .32S&W ammo is not good either.

  6. Conan: are you sure you don't want to switch to English (creative writing) as a major. You paint a really vivid picture of these two.

    At the very least, please consider writing a roman a clef on the side. You're gathering some good material. If I'm remembering correctly, Jenny Lawson (the bloggess) spent some time working in HR before writing a bestselling book. It seems to be a good way to gather material.